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Shamima Begum stripped of British citizenship

Renu Begum, sister of teenage British girl Shamima Begum, holds a photo of her sister as she makes an appeal for her to return home at Scotland Yard, in London, Britain
Renu Begum, sister of teenage British girl Shamima Begum, holds a photo of her sister as she makes an appeal for her to return home at Scotland Yard, in London, Britain

RADICIALISED teenager Shamima Begum has been stripped of her British citizenship, it was announced on Tuesday (19).

Begum, 19, was one of three school girls from east London who fled to Syria to join Daesh (the so-called Islamic State group) in 2015. She claimed to have been married to a Dutch convert days after she arrived in Syria.

Last week, Begum was discovered in a refugee camp in northern Syria. She has since made requests to come back to the UK with her newborn son, Jerah.

According to a letter to the Begum’s family, a decision to revoke her citizenship was made by home secretary Sajid Javid. The letter requested that Begum’s mother convey the news back to her daughter, along with the information that she would be able to appeal the decision.

Lawyer Tasnime Akunjee, who represents Begum and her family, said the family were ‘very disappointed with the Home Office’s intention to have an order made depriving Shamima of her citizenship.’

The latest news comes after the head of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, said Begum would potentially face arrest if she made her way to the UK.

“We’re the police. If she does arrive at our borders, someone in her circumstances could be expected to be spoken to, and if necessary arrested and investigated,” Dick said.

Javid, had also said Begum would “face consequences” if she returned.

Addressing the House of Commons on Monday (18), Javid said although the government could not prevent her return due to international laws against leaving people stateless, he would do everything in his power to stop those who “hate Britain” coming back.

“Quite simply – if you back terror, there must be consequences,” he said.

Shamima Begum has given interviews with several media outlets since she was discovered in a Syrian refugee camp

It also emerged on Tuesday that ministers are looking into an ancient law of treason to see if it can be altered to make it easier to prosecute returning jihadist fighters and their supporters.

Since their return to the UK, only 40 of around 360 jihadis have been convicted of any offence.

The prospect of Begum’s return has provoked debate across the UK, with some claiming she was “groomed” by the group and should be offered rehabilitation.

Akunjee had previously called for the government to allow her back into the country.

He compared Begum to a “traumatised” WW1 soldier returning from the trenches and suggested the British legal system were treating her worse than the Nazis.

Begum previously gave birth to two other children after marrying in Syria. Both children died as infants, she said.

Journalist Anthony Loyd, who was the first person to interview Begum for The Times, had also urged for her return.

“Yes, she is a radicalised jihadi bride – but she was a 15-year-old school girl when she went there,” Loyd said. “I think there is a clear difference between some of the women who went out there as adults making adult choices and this young woman who went out there as a minor, and remained a minor until only a year ago, by which time she would have become heavily indoctrinated.”

In an interview with Sky News, hours after giving birth, Begum said she did not regret joining the terror group as it “made her stronger”.

The teenager said she was “okay” with the knowledge that members of the terrorist group were executing and beheading prisoners and did not question it.

Begum added she believed the British public should have sympathy for her situation and what she has experienced.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into when I left and I just hope for the sake of me and my child, that they will let me come back,” she said.

She also claimed UK authorities didn’t have any evidence of her doing anything illegal in Syria, as she was “just a housewife” for the four years she lived in the country.

The teen left the UK with two friends, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, in February 2015.

Sultana was apparently killed in an airstrike in 2016. Abase’s whereabouts are unknown.